I have written about personal responsibility on this blog more times than I can count. I've used that exact phrase - "personal responsibility" - dozens, maybe hundreds of times.
In fact, I've gotten to the point where I'm sometimes bashful about using it, 'cause I don't want to sound like a broken record player, and it's a phrase that has come in some circles to represent overbearing stodginess. And that's a shame.
But I saw over the weekend that model Naomi Campbell got yet another walk for assaulting people who'd pissed her off, and I had to weigh in again.
Seriously, there is some kind of pathology spreading around that has adults, grown folks, convinced that "it's not my fault!"
Campbell got 200 hours community service and a couple of fines that amounted to about $5,000 American. You spit on a cop and start swinging at flight crew members and see if you get community service, a few hundred bucks out of your pocket, and no jail time. Last year Campbell served a week of community service in NYC, after she was busted for busting an aid in the head with a cell phone. Before that she got anger management for hurling a phone at another aid in Canada.
Last week Christina Szele of Queens, NY, was removed from a JetBlue flight and arrested after the apparently drunk Szele lit a cigarette mid flight. A flight attendant snatched the cig from her mouth and put her in plastic flex-cuffs. Szele broke free and punched the attendant in the mouth. She also allegedly called him the N-word. Szele's friends say she's a good person when she's not drinking. Hmmm. I'm only a drunk when I drink. Gotta remember that one. And her brother says she's not a racist but just uttered some "drunk talk." Sorry, but in my experience, booze is truth serum. Reportedly, Szele blamed her "condition" partly on the fact that flight attendants continued to serve/sell her booze, when she didn't need anymore. They did this to her. They made her buy and consume booze.
Two weeks ago I sat in on a meeting at City Hall, in my little town, where city officials unveiled part of a plan to crack down on prostitution and misbehaving homeless folks and drug abusers/dealers whose behavior threatens to permanently taint my 'hood. I've put too much $$$ into my house and sweat equity into this 'hood to let it get overrun. So if the city folks hadn't done something I'd have gone on an ass-kickin' campaign of my own...to the extent it wouldn't get me locked up, 'cause I really am too pretty to go to jail. But that's another post.
At the meeting, one of the plans the city unveiled involved cracking down on landlords who don't maintain their rental properties and who rent to any schmo with a fist full of dollars. Most of the people in the room applauded the plan. Who do you think objected? A couple of landlords who asked what the city planned to do to help the landlords maintain their properties. They both lamented that in the bad economy, many landlords are operating at a loss and can't afford to keep their properties up. They wanted to know what their incentive was to go along with the plan.
Let's explore this for a minute. There is no law that I'm aware of requiring anyone to buy a rental property, or two or 10. I own a home in this 'hood. I'm not getting any help from the city to maintain my property. I bought one house, 'cause that's all I could afford there. I know and like both these guys, by the way. But I'm sorry. No one forced them to buy more property than they could afford to keep up. I know landlords in my 'hood who are doing OK. Why? They didn't let their eyes get larger than their stomachs, or shall we say they didn't let their budgets get larger than their wallets. What happened to old-fashioned "All American" hustlin'? My tip to landlords? If, for example, your rents are down and your monthly lawn service is eating away your budget, fire the service. Dress down and take your own lawnmower to your properties and cut the damned grass your self already! All it'll cost you is time. You don't need city help to be responsible for what's yours.
Always someone else's fault. How do we fix this?